When Our Sin Hurts Others

When Our Sin Hurts Others


As a follower of Jesus Christ, your behavior matters.
  • James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

If you openly profess your faith in Jesus Christ, the things you do and say may cause others to draw conclusions about your relationship with Him; these conclusions are very important!

For those paying attention, your words and actions can:
  • Reinforce previously held opinions
  • Break down barriers
  • Trigger confrontations
  • Stimulate conversations
  • Stir one’s curiosity
  • Encourage
  • Offend
  • Etc.

Yet beyond the numerous potential immediate reactions others may have to your behavior, and looking past the personal consequences you may have to deal with, here are two possible significantly negative results of your conduct.

Any improper conduct by a Christian may:
  • Push non-Christians further from God.
  • Bring significant suffering or loss to others.

King David personally dealt with the real and potential consequences of his actions. 

Real
  • 2 Samuel 12:13-14 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”
    • David was guilty of adultery and murder (see 2 Samuel Chapter 11). When the prophet Nathan confronted David, he admitted his sin (see 2 Samuel Chapter 12, read Psalm 51 for David’s prayer of confession). However, David still had to face the dreadful results of his actions.
      • As God’s anointed King over Israel, David’s flagrant sin gave the watching gentile nations excuses/reasons to curse God and slander His holiness.
      • The child born out of David’s sin with Bathsheba was going to die.
      • Rebellion and adversarial relationships would not cease in the line of David’s descendants as a result of his sin (2 Samuel 12:10).

Potential
  • Psalm 69:5-6 O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You. 6 Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me; Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel.
    • In Psalm 69 David is praying for help. He is being wrongly persecuted for his faith in God and his devotion to living a godly life. But in the midst of this prayer, David asks God to protect other servants of the Lord who may be impacted by how he responds to the attacks he is experiencing.
      • David actions or reactions could lead to shame or insult for other followers of God.

Notice that in both of these situations, David acknowledged the existence of his sin. Our improper conduct may be or lead to sin. The existence of our sin leads to consequences. The duration and severity of those consequences vary depending upon the exercise of God’s attributes (mercy, grace, love, patience, sovereignty, etc.) and the exhibiting of our attitudes (humility, regret, pride, selfishness, selflessness, etc.). How tragic when our sin hurts others!

No sin is secret; God sees and knows everything!

Humble yourself before God and sincerely confess your sins to Him.
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Pray as David did, that others will not suffer as a result of your sin.


Prayer

Father, I have seen my sin hurt others. And beyond that, I am sure there have been negative consequences because of my sin that I never saw or imagined. I beg You to restore and protect anyone who has been or could be hurt by my sin. May Your Holy Spirit empower me to live a life that honors You and brings blessings into others’ lives. Thank You for faithfully forgiving my sin when I genuinely confess it. May the Church of Jesus Christ bring help, healing and love to this broken world through proper Christian behavior as it is expressed in Your Word. I love You Father and pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.